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The Spectrum of Consciousness

Ken Wilber

Or, check out my essay that largely derives from the experience of reading this book: The Philosophy of Consciousness.

Ken Wilber’s first book, written around 23 years old, washing dishes, living on a couch, and drinking gallons of milk.

It was also perhaps the first book I ever read of my own curiosity. I’ve always figured it somehow subconsciously charted the course I was to take.

It’s a sprawling, erudite, ambitious work. Packed with information drawn from all traditions and disciplines, Wilber’s central metaphor, consciousness as a literal spectrum, brings together psychologies of East & West, the beginnings of his integral philosophy to come.


“Western psychotherapies aim at ‘patching up’ the individual self while Eastern approaches aim at transcending the self…

…The avowed aim of most Western approaches is variously stated as strengthening the ego, integrating the self, correcting one’s self-image, building self-confidence…they offer…a lessening of the ‘normal neuroses’ that are part and parcel of being an ego.” 

Now offering the Eastern therapeutic intention:

“…the central aim of most Eastern approaches is not to strengthen the ego but to completely and totally transcend it…to tap a level of consciousness that offers total freedom and complete release from the root cause of all suffering, that puts to rest our must puzzling questions about the nature of Reality, and that ends our restless and anxious searchings for an abode of peace.”